How To Get a Student Loan Without Your Parents’ Support
- You have two loan options for financing college: federal loans from the government and private loans from banks, credit unions, or other private lenders, including non-profit lenders.
- To qualify for financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and work-study, you have to fill out the FAFSA.
- Private lenders will consider your credit score and income when making loan decisions.
You’re ready to embark on college – that incredible time in your life to learn, grow, and live on your own. But, when it comes to paying for college, you may already be on your own without financial help from your parents.
You’re in good company.
There are plenty of students who have put themselves through college. You can do it, too. There are just some things you need to know and do. Let’s take a look.
Apply for federal aid. One way to make college more affordable is to apply for financial aid, which can come from scholarships, grants, work-study, and federal loans. You can apply for that aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Get guidance to help you complete the FAFSA.
Establish yourself as an “independent” student – In most cases, the family is required to complete the FAFSA and provide family income. In some cases, a student qualifies as an independent student on the FAFSA, and only the student income is required on the form, which means the student may be eligible for more aid.
There are specific requirements to qualify as an independent student, including the following: students must be at least 24 years of age, married, on active duty in the U.S. Armed forces, financially supporting dependent children, an orphan (both parents deceased), a ward of the court, or an emancipated minor.
Explore private loans. With the high cost of schools, financial aid may not cover the entire college bill. A way to help make up the difference is to apply for a private loan.
Unlike federal loans, which are offered by the government and based on need, private loans are offered by private lenders and based on your income and credit.
If you go this route, shop around. Not all private lenders are equal. Look for the best rates and terms for your situation.
Boost your credit. If you plan to borrow, you need to build a good credit score. A credit score is basically a calculation that tells lenders how likely you are to pay back a loan.
It’s based on a number of factors, including your history of making payments, your credit utilization (the amount of credit you have that you actually use), and any outstanding balances you have.
The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for a student loan, and the better the interest rate you’ll receive. Here are some steps you can take to boost your credit.
Look into getting a co-signer. If you’re younger and just starting your financial life, you may not yet have a strong credit history, which could impact your ability to get a private loan.
You could consider asking someone else in your life with strong credit to be a co-signer. Co-signers are often parents, but not always. Keep in mind that it’s a huge ask since your co-signer will be responsible for paying back the loan if you default on your payments.
Demonstrate income and financial stability. Another factor private lenders look for is your income. If you have a steady income and money saved, it could improve your chances of getting approved. You could consider going to school part-time, which could make school more affordable and increase your chance of qualifying for a loan.
Have a strong academic record. If you’re a great student, you may qualify for scholarships from the federal government and other organizations. At Brazos, we award $5,000 scholarships monthly to academically talented and highly motivated students who attend Texas schools.
Apply for other scholarships and grants. Additional help with college is definitely out there. You can get “free money” with scholarships and grants or work in school with work-study. Learn how to find scholarships and grants available.
Ask for help. Again, you’re definitely not alone in financing your education. Talk to your guidance counselor or your school’s financial aid office to learn about opportunities and ways to pay for school. Be honest about your situation so they can help you.
Brazos is here to help you
For more than 40 years, Brazos Higher Education has been helping make education more affordable for students. As a Texas non-profit, we can offer you BIG savings on various student loans. Contact us today!